Day 588 of the Invasion of Ukraine: A Large Part of Russia's Black Sea Fleet has left Sevastopol

World » UKRAINE | October 4, 2023, Wednesday // 11:36
Bulgaria: Day 588 of the Invasion of Ukraine: A Large Part of Russia's Black Sea Fleet has left Sevastopol

Day 588 of the invasion of Ukraine. Summary of key events in the last 24 hours:

  • A large part of Russia's Black Sea Fleet has left Sevastopol
  • Friendly fire: Russian air defense near Tokmak shot down the most advanced Russian fighter
  • The Armed Forces of Ukraine fried a second Russian "Triumph" in less than a month
  • Russia reported it shot down 31 Ukrainian drones over its territory
  • NATO and Britain: The West's ammunition is running out
  • The EU is preparing for negotiations with Ukraine, even if it does not meet all the conditions
  • Lithuania opened a grain corridor after a deal with Ukraine and Poland
  • Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was sentenced in absentia to 8.5 years of imprisonment

A large part of Russia's Black Sea Fleet has left Sevastopol

A large part of Russia's Black Sea Fleet forces are no longer based in Sevastopol, which was their base and is located on the annexed Crimean peninsula. This was reported by the online publication "The Bell", referring to satellite photos published by Russian military channels, confirming the redeployment of a significant part of the fleet from Sevastopol to Fedosia and Novorossiysk.

Publications indicate that two of the fleet's newest and largest ships have docked in Novorossiysk - the Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov frigates, three diesel submarines, five large landing craft and several small missile ships. One large landing ship, minesweepers and small ships are stationed in Feodosia.

This confirms the publication of the British military intelligence from the beginning of the week; the briefing said that because of the threats to Sevastopol, more and more activities were likely to be transferred to Novorossiysk. Particularly important in the course of these actions is the Russian naval aviation, to which more tasks in fleet operations are transferred. According to London, the task of combating the maritime drones of the Ukrainian armed forces has already been assigned to naval aviation.

Among the main reasons for Russia to seize Crimea is the need to preserve Sevastopol as a base for the Black Sea Fleet. According to Russian media, it is possible that the move would weaken Russia's control over the western part of the Black Sea and weaken the threat to Ukraine's grain corridor; vessels are already passing through a temporary one announced by Kyiv, despite Moscow's withdrawal from the grain deal in July.

Russian channels refrained from emotional assessments, but BMPD (the channel of the Center for Strategy and Technology Analysis) called what was happening a "traditional maneuver" of the Black Sea Fleet. This is an obvious allusion to the actions of the Soviet fleet during the defense of Sevastopol in 1941-1942, if not to the sinking of ships in Tsemes Bay near Novorossiysk in 1918. "Military Informant" states that this maneuver "was more essentially the only way out to preserve ships against the threat of only a few missiles from a few aircraft".

It follows a series of attacks in the area which British military intelligence said represented a "defeat" for Russian forces.

On September 13, Sevastopol was subjected to a missile attack by Storm Shadow missiles from Ukrainian Su-24 bombers (the amphibious assault ship Minsk and the submarine Rostov-on-Don with a dry dock were hit, the prospects for recovery are doubtful), recalls "The Bell". And on September 22, three rockets hit the headquarters building of the Black Sea Fleet in the very center of Sevastopol, causing significant damage to it.

The departure of the fleet to Novorossiysk eliminates the danger of such attacks, but not because of the range limitations, but mainly because the Western allies of Ukraine do not give permission to use missiles on the "old" territory of Russia, the media continued.

Friendly fire: Russian air defense near Tokmak shot down the most advanced Russian fighter

The British Ministry of Defense said that Russian air defenses probably shot down its own Su-35 fighter jet near Tokmak (Zaporizhzhia Oblast).

According to British intelligence, one of the most advanced examples of the Russian Federation's own aviation was destroyed on September 28, about 20 km behind the current front line. If the information is correct, this will be the fifth Su-35S loss since the start of a full-scale war against Ukraine.

In total, the Russian Federation has lost at least 90 aircraft from its fleet in battles with the Ukrainian armed forces, British intelligence estimates.

The British Ministry of Defense notes that the Russian Federation protects its headquarters in Tokmak with special short- and medium-range air defense systems. It is likely that these systems are almost always on high alert, given the effective rear-end attacks that Ukraine constantly undertakes.

"Tokmak is a heavily fortified city that often houses the Russian headquarters, which commands one of the heaviest sections of the front line," they say.

The first information about the strange work of the Russian air defense in the Zaporizhzhia direction began to spread online on September 29. The next day, the former adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine, Anton Gerashchenko, showed photographic evidence of the mistake of the Russian Federation: in the shot, as Gerashchenko noted, a downed Su-35 aircraft "lies" in the fields of Tokmak.

The former official pointed out that the relevant evidence was obtained thanks to the Ukrainian intelligence unmanned aerial vehicle Shark.

The Armed Forces of Ukraine fried a second Russian "Triumph" in less than a month

For the second time in the last month, Ukraine destroyed a second S-400 "Triumph" air defense system. The costly installation was struck in the Belgorod region of the Russian Federation.

The complex was struck last night by drones of the Ukrainian special services.

One such complex costs approximately 1.2 billion dollars, or even a little more.

In videos published on Russian social networks, about 20 explosions can be heard at the place where the air defense system was deployed. After the attack, the lights went out in several settlements near the site of the strike.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) struck the same system in Yevpatoria on the occupied Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea on September 14. There, SBU drones first hit the "eyes" of the complex - radars and antennas. After the system was "blinded", units of the Naval Forces of Ukraine fired two Neptune cruise missiles at the Russian "Triumph", which hit the target.

Russia said it shot down 31 Ukrainian drones over its territory

Russia shot down 31 drones launched last night by Ukraine over Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk regions, Reuters reported, citing the Defense Ministry.

No casualties or damage were reported.

In addition, Ukrainian forces fired cluster munitions into several villages in Russia's southern Bryansk region, regional governor Alexander Bogomaz wrote on Telegram. He added that there were no casualties, although several houses were hit. Reuters cannot confirm the information from an independent source, and there is currently no comment from the government in Kyiv.

Ukraine received cluster munitions from the US and claimed it would only use them to push out enemy troops. Russian officials in Bryansk and other areas bordering Ukraine have repeatedly accused the Ukrainian armed forces of indiscriminate shelling, Reuters notes.

Cluster munitions are banned in more than 100 countries. They usually drop multiple smaller bombs and can kill large numbers of people over a large area, and those that fall and fail to detonate pose a hazard for decades.

NATO and Britain: The West's ammunition is running out

The ammunition Western countries can give Ukraine to defend against a full-scale invasion by Russia is running out, the UK and NATO have warned, the BBC reported.

Admiral Rob Bauer, NATO's most senior military official, told the Warsaw Security Forum that the bottom was already in sight and that governments and businesses needed to ramp up production much more quickly.

At the same forum, James Heappey, who is in charge of armed forces at Britain's Ministry of Defence, warned that the West's stockpiles appeared to be running low and military spending should rise to 2% of gross domestic product, a commitment already made. "If it is not the time when there is a war in Europe to spend 2% on defense, then when is it," he asked, according to the British public media.

European defense ministers say at the same forum that Europe needs to strengthen its defense industry to be able to support Ukraine. In the long term, according to Swedish Defense Minister Paul Johnson, Ukraine needs to be able to order things from Europe's industrial base.

Not all governments share this view, and there are fears in Brussels that a Slovak government led by election winner Robert Fico would remove an important Ukrainian ally from the equation.

“We need large volumes. The just-in-time economy that we have built together over 30 years in our liberal economies is good for many things - but not for the armed forces when there is war,” said Robert Bauer, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee

Heappey echoed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's point that from now on 2% military spending should be a floor, not a ceiling. "The elephant in the room is that not everyone in the alliance is still spending 2% of their GDP on defense."

Ukraine fires thousands of projectiles every day and most come from NATO. The United States and Great Britain alone provided a total of over 2.3 million artillery shells.

The EU is preparing for negotiations with Ukraine, even if it does not meet all the conditions

The European Union is preparing to start negotiations with Ukraine on its future entry into the bloc, an official announcement is expected in December. Politico reports this, citing sources, two days after President Volodymyr Zelensky admitted that this was possible.

Three diplomats familiar with the matter say EU leaders are preparing to give Kyiv the green light half a year after granting it candidate status in June. A report on the progress of Ukraine (and other candidates, including from the Western Balkans) is due in November, and according to an interlocutor of the publication, a statement will follow, after which it will be very difficult for the members not to say, considering the political risk: "Let's start negotiations on Ukraine."

At the same time, seven conditions remain before Ukraine, including those related to judicial reforms and the fight against corruption. Of these, according to data from a month ago, Ukraine had still fulfilled only two.

The media quoted an EU official as saying that Ukraine's progress on the seven conditions is encouraging, and only one area related to minorities appears problematic in the short term.

Even if not all are implemented, a policy statement is still expected in December, and a legal decision could be made by early 2024, according to a diplomat cited by Politico.

The idea, studied in the European Commission, of step-by-step integration of Ukraine into the EU seems more controversial. In some countries, the proposal is causing tension, "El Pais" reports after conversations with interlocutors from the bloc.

The possibility of integrating Ukraine at various levels into Community policies - for example first in the single market and specific organizations - enjoys the support of the President of the European Council Charles Michel (and is in line with a Franco-German proposal from last month), but is not accepts uniquely in the block. There is also a perception among critics that such an approach could make it less attractive to complete the reforms demanded by the candidates.

"Let's not be fooled, in the end the candidates want full entry into the European Union and this is something for which they must prepare themselves," says Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares.

There can be no ‘discounted entry’, and the process must be based on merit, and the EU itself must be prepared with its decision-making system, impact on the budget, institutional reforms,” said Albares.

The conversation at the European level is again on the agenda around this week's upcoming summit in Granada - both of the European Union and of the European political community, which also includes countries wishing to join and partners such as Britain. It is expected that the prospects for expansion and changes in the bloc will be discussed there, so that it can accept and absorb the new members, but the proposals of the European Commission will not be presented until next year, during the Belgian presidency of the Council of the European Union.

"Brussels has learned its lesson from Romania and Bulgaria, which have been under monitoring mechanisms for years, and from Poland (once a gifted student which has now become an equal member) and Hungary, funds for which are now frozen because of their legal vulnerabilities" continues El Pais.

Lithuania opened a grain corridor after a deal with Ukraine and Poland

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis announced the opening of a corridor for Ukrainian grain to Baltic ports after Warsaw and Kyiv reached an export agreement.

"Russia destroys food, Lithuania supplies it," Landsbergis wrote on the “X” platform (formerly Twitter). According to him, this move will ease the pressure on the Ukrainian border and increase supplies to Africa and other countries.

With the deal, sanitary and veterinary control is transferred from the Ukrainian-Polish border to the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda. This will speed up transit through Polish territory. This decision was taken after an online meeting of the agriculture ministers of Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania. Vilnius takes "full responsibility" for checking the goods so that they can quickly proceed to the markets of Africa and the Middle East, writes the Lithuanian version of the leading Baltic media "Delfi".

Polish Minister Robert Telus told reporters after meetings with his counterparts Mykola Solskyi and Kęstutis Navickas that Poland would continue to create transit corridors "because it is good for Polish farmers, Ukraine, the European Union and the whole world".

Kyiv has been looking at different routes as an alternative to supplies via the Black Sea since the start of the war. Yesterday's deal does not resolve the dispute with Poland, which still bans imports of Ukrainian grain ahead of parliamentary elections on October 15. The Danube routes are constantly threatened by Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure.

"Reuters" cited data from a Ukrainian agricultural association, according to which Ukrainian food exports to foreign markets fell by 3% in September compared to the previous month. In particular, that of grain fell by 10 percent to 2.1 million metric tons.

Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was sentenced in absentia to 8.5 years of imprisonment

The former editor of the Russian television channel "Channel One" Marina Ovsyannikova was sentenced in absentia to 8.5 years of imprisonment on charges of spreading false information about the armed forces of Russia, TASS reported.

"In view of the position of the prosecutor's office, Ovsyannikova was sentenced to 8 years and 6 months of imprisonment, and the sentence should be served in a penal colony with a general regime," the Moscow prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The accusation of spreading "false information" is related to her protest action from July last year. Then she stood on the bank of the Moscow River opposite the Kremlin with a poster that read: "Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascists," Reuters noted.

Ovsyannikova worked for Russia's state-run “Channel One” for more than 10 years before deciding to organize a protest against the war in Ukraine.

In March 2022, she interrupted the live broadcast of the evening news with a placard in her hands that read: "Stop the war, don't believe the propaganda, you are being lied to."

Ovsyannikova left Russia with her daughter after being held under house arrest for a year.

Her lawyer said she is currently in Europe, but did not say which country.

Novinite is still the only Bulgarian media that publishes a summary of events and highlights related to the conflict, every single day. Our coverage began on day one - 24.02.2022 and will not stop until the war has concluded. Despite the pressure, our independent media will continue to provide its readers with accurate and up-to-date information. Thank you for your support! #stayinformed

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